Friday, May 8, 2009


It's almost Mother's Day. I start drifting down memory lane about my own mother, and her mother, and, of course, the mother before her. I even ponder my own short stint in the motherhood arena, unseasoned as I may be.

On my desk, I have a bulletin board of photos -- all women in my family, all interesting photos that make me look at the world a little different. Here is what I see.

My Mother, 1965.
Black and white photo. She is standing in the front yard in her shorts, huge sombrero, ugly stuffed bear with a lei in her hands, and white loafers. She is entertaining the world. Her comical smile makes me laugh. Only six years old, she doesn't know yet how much hurt there is in the world. Happiness resides within her.

My Grandmother, 1972.
Wearing a flowered dress with pearls, she stands in the corner of a room. Body stiff, she is smiling. One light bulb hangs bare above her head. Her smile looks forced, her eyes look sad. I want to wrap my arms around her and hold her. Why is it so hard to let go of things that weigh us down, such as bitterness, hatred and regret?

My Mother and I, 2003.
We have our arms around each other, looking straight in the camera, on a sunny day. Our smiles are exactly the same. I'm squeezing her tight. It's hard to tell who is the mother and who is the daughter. For most of our lives, this identity crisis on traditional mother-daughter roles has been a barrier between us.

Me, 2005.
Only my head is above water. I am hanging on with one hand to a black inner-tube and the water is rippling around me. This was my first weekend away from our new baby. It was also my first dip back in the soothing water after motherhood. I have a ton more questions, but the photo is snapped in mid-sentence.

These are my inspiration photos -- the photos that remind me, I guess, that we're all human, including mothers. We make mistakes. We mess up our lives. We even mess up our kids' lives. Some of us put on sombreros and dance to survive, while others build walls that no one can penetrate. Some of us hold on tight with all our being and big ole' smiles, while others just barely have their head above water.

The only thing we have in common is God's unfailing love for us. Oh, and of course, the fact that we're all in this together....ready or not.

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